As we talked about in Do You Have a High Drive? there is this unseen element at work in every marriage that I call the dichotomy of the high drive and low drive. This dichotomy more than any other thing will put pressure on your marriage. How well you and your spouse handle that pressure will in a great deal determine the level of success that you will experience in your marriage. As I mentioned in that previous post the high drive/low drive dichotomy isn’t just about sex. It reaches to every aspect in marriage. The important and the less important. The big and the small. It is there. Sometimes you really feel it and at other times it’s there but you aren’t as aware of it as perhaps you spouse is.
Now here’s an important piece of information about the high drive/low drive dichotomy, the low drive spouse is in control of whatever the situation whether they want to be or not. Interesting isn’t it? That a person can have the power of control over something simply because they want it less than someone else and often times they would prefer not to have that control at all. As an example, the spouse that has the low drive for visiting family will control when they choose to visit family. Now the other spouse can choose to go on their own to visit their family, but it isn’t quite the same as visiting family together is it? They control it by simply refusing to participate. The high drive spouse suggests that a visit to the low drive spouse’s parents is in order and the low drive spouse refuses to participate. The low drive spouse can also control the level of enjoyment of the high drive spouse by their reluctance to participate. The high drive spouse suggests that a visit to the low drive spouse’s parents is in order and the low drive spouse participates grudgingly. Now the low drive spouse may not want this control but because of their attitude (low desire) toward this activity they are in control.
What are somethings that a mature low drive spouse that doesn’t want to limit their spouse’s enjoyment do?
- Attitude adjustment. The most important thing they can do is work on adjusting their own attitude toward the activity.
- Love their spouse. Show your spouse that you are concerned about their needs/wants/desires and love them by releasing the control to the higher drive spouse as evidence of your love for your spouse.
- Suck it up. There will be times when your spouse needs to do this for you and you need to be willing to do it for them as well.
What about the high drive spouse? What can they do?
- Be your own person. The decision that a low drive spouse makes says more about them than it does about you. In the example given above about visiting the low drive spouse’s family, go without the low drive spouse. The fact that the low drive spouse made the decision they made says more about them than it does about you. Natural consequences.
- Don’t protect the low drive spouse from the natural negative consequences of their decision. This means allowing your own disappointment to be voiced in a loving and respectful manner.
There are probably somethings that I missed that a mature spouse should be doing whether they are low drive or high drive. Share your thoughts!